Coin Collecting at the Safir House
Ruben Safir Coins Collection: Uruguay Food for All - 1969 Patterns - Bronze and Silver

Urugauy 1969 Silver Food for All Pattern

The Food for All program from the United Nations is one of the many coin programs designed to raise money charitable funds or raise public advocacy for causes. Usually they are international programs and make an interesting wrinkle in the collecting of commeratives. The United Nations, Food for All program is such and example and elsewhere you can find articles written about the FAO coinage. In my opinion, must of the coinage for the FAO program is dreary, but there are some exciting exceptions, including this 1969 design that came out of Uruguay. The coin channels the native South American Indian culture, but not in a passive, nostalgic, often political context, but refreshing modern context that draws from West Abstraction Art movements, which were themselves influences by primitivism" of Africa and native tribe worldwide . So things have come in a circle.

Silver MS 1969 Uruguay FAO
Bronze 1969 Uruguay FAO
Side Engraving of the 1969 Silver
Copper version in hand

The resulting coin design is a true work of art, and now often copied, especially in British 50P series of coins. This coin deserves a place in a design exhibit at MOMA, along with the 1963 Type E Jaguar Roadster and the 1998 iMac Desktop Computer. The proof version was distributed with a diagram map explain all the symbolism packed in the coin, and the silver slab, without a traditional offset rim, has a unique feel in the hand. The silver is warm, and commands respect. It is a worthy coin

We have 5 examples, 2 bronze, and 3 silver. We had another one which was robbed with the entire collection in 2014. But we have wall size prints of the coin printed on a large form commercial color printer that hangs on the wall near the front door.

In addition to the wonderful obverse and reverse, there is also a nice inscription on the rim

Rim Inscription on the Copper Type Uruguay FAO Pattern

The reserve includes a representation of the creation myths of South America. Surrounding it is a cornucopia of stylized food stuffs, wildlife, and agricultural tools. It is much more ambitious than the usual "Food for All" representation and obviously someone gave this far more thought that the usual perfunctory designs by other UN nations.

At the center is the creators face. Around it is, from the top and around, an Eel, Oxen Yoke, seeds, a bird (supposedly with seed), a fruit tree branch, a shovel (looks like an arrow). a fishing buoy, a water tray for washing seed, fruit tree stakes (swiggles), an axe, in the corner a plowshare, a cow, a lizard, a grain mortar, at carpenter's square, and the universal man without race (looks like a house). This description is directly from the paperwork with the proof version of the coin.

The coin was minted in CASA DE MONEDA CHILE in Santiago, Chile which still in operation today. It was founded in October 1, 1743 as Casa de Moneda by the Certificate of the King of Spain Felipe V.

The work is designed by Fransisco Matto who has a full catalog of Latin American abstract art that is displayed around the world. He is a superior artist and engraver, often working in Metal and Canvas.

This is a wonderful PDF on his work. There is quite a bit written on the design in Uruguay museums such as this one in Spanish

The coin has an incuse design which makes grading a bit difficult. As such, the fields are actually the high points of the coin, and the details are "carved" into a flat slab of precious metal. Matto's design is based on the well know artist, Joaquin Torres Garcia, who's works encompassed Constructive Universalism, and was a friend of Picasso and Gaudi. Some of his work can be explored at artnet

It was engraved by Francisco Matto VilarĂ³ , and the edge letters says REPUBLICA ORIENTAL DEL URUGUAY So . The Obverse is a reworking of the commonly themed stylized sun that is on many Uraguay coins. There are two variants and we seemed to have been lucky enough to obtain both.

There are TWO varieties - tear drop and no tear drop - See below

Urugauy No Teared Variety
Urugauy Teared Variety
Set of Uruguay FAO Patterns graded and slabbed by ANACS

The Safir Family Internet Coin Library. Nearly all the coins here have been stolen. If you have any information on the theft, please contact us at

Click to see these examples show below including photography: note to lawyer: most of the good stuff is gone
Section I:
US Coints
Large Cent Coppers
Flying Eagle Cents
Lincoln Cents and Wheat Backs
Buffalo Nickels
Jefferson Nickels
Jefferson Silver War Nickels
Bust Half Dimes
Mercury (Liberrty Head) Dimes
Roosevelt Dime
Barber Quarter Dollars
Standing Libery Quarter
Washington and Washington State Quarters
Cap Bust Half Dollars
1813 o.108 AU58 Cap Bust Half Providence Powell.
1818 MS63 Cap Bust Half
1833 MS63 Cap Bust Half
Seated Half Dollars
Barber Half Dollars
Walking Liberty Half Dollars
Franklin Half Dollars
Kennedy Half Dollars
Morgan Silver Dollars
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Modern Silver and Clad Proof Sets
Modern American Silver Eagle uncirculated mint coins and proofs
Modern Silver and Clad 2008 Commorative Bald Eagle Series
Gold Coins - Not too many
Circulated US Silver Coins prior to 1964

Go To Section II:
Modern and Ancient Foreign Coins from Outside The United States

Go To Section III:
Mandy's 25th Anniversary World Wildlife Fund Silver Coins

Unsorted Extra stuff:
Bust US Coinage
From the coin Show at Melville Long Island

The Safir Family Internet Coin Library: Foriegn Coins.

Several mints from around the world make exciting coin designs in circulating alloys, silver and gold. Among my favorites are the Perth Mint in Austrailia which produces a variety of coins for nations mostly through out the Pacific Rim. The Neatherlands has also produced some interesting designs, and several private US based mints have produced foreign currency on contract, include the Franklin Mint which has produced many Israeli Coins.
Our interest in foreign coins has been nominal but rapidly growing as it seems that US designs are so stuck in the mud. Also, foreign mints are creating bold new designs with color and bimetal designs that are both eye catching and fun.

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